Banking fraud and counterfeiting are illegal under both Virginia and federal laws. If you are being charged with either of these crimes, you could be charged under both state and federal laws. Depending on the seriousness of the crime, you could be arrested for a misdemeanor or felony offense. If convicted, you could be sentenced to a long prison term and ordered to pay hefty fines. In addition, you would have a criminal record for the rest of your life, which could limit your ability to find a job, obtain citizenship, keep your professional license, and qualify for scholarships. This is not a time to try to enter a plea agreement with the prosecutor on your own. You need an experienced criminal defense attorney who can build your defense and help you lessen the serious consequences you face.
What Is Banking Fraud?
Bank fraud crimes are ones where a person uses illegal means to obtain money or assets from a bank or other financial institution. It can also involve similar crimes against consumers or posing as a financial institution or bank to obtain money or assets from consumers. It is considered a white-collar crime.
Bank fraud is illegal under both federal and Virginia law. There are many ways that people can engage in bank fraud, and some of the schemes can be complex and affect a large group of people as well as the financial institution. Some examples of bank fraud charges include:
- Bank impersonation. This crime involves one or more people acting as a financial institution or setting up a website to lure people into depositing money.
- Stolen checks. When people obtain access to post office boxes or the mail, they can steal checks and open accounts under assumed names to cash them—illegal under federal and state laws.
- Forgery. Forgery occurs when a person alters the name or any other information on a check or forges a person’s signature to cash or deposit the check. It can also involve forging other types of documents.
- Check fraud. This occurs when a person writes a check he knows will not clear because he does not have sufficient funds in his account or has bad credit.
- Fraudulent loans. If a person takes out a loan never intending to pay it and files for bankruptcy or uses a false identity to obtain a loan, this would be illegal under Virginia and federal laws.
- Identity theft. When a person engages in identity theft and uses another person’s information to set up a bogus bank account, obtain a loan, or obtain a financial institution or bank credit card, he could be charged with bank fraud.
What Are Counterfeiting Crimes?
In Virginia, counterfeiting is a form of forgery and is generally a felony offense. It is also a federal crime. Under state law, you could be charged with the following crimes:
- Counterfeiting – The actual making of money or coins.
- Uttering and possessing fake money – Possessing fake money or coins with the intent of using them as if they are real.
- Making or possessing counterfeiting tools
What Are the Penalties for Bank Fraud and Counterfeiting?
The sentences for bank fraud will depend on the monetary amount stolen, who the victim was, and if the crime is a federal or state crime. Under federal laws, you could face up to 30 years in prison and up to $1,000,000 in fines. If you are charged with a lesser charge, the prison sentence could be five to ten years and steep fines, restitution, and probation.
Under Virginia law, the penalties you face will depend on whether you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony and the classification of the misdemeanor or felony. Penalties can range from a small fine of under $500 to a prison sentence of up to 20 years and fines not exceeding $100,000.
The penalties for being convicted of counterfeiting are also dependent on whether you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony and the classification of the charge. Under Virginia law, you could face a small fine for a misdemeanor conviction up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. If you are convicted under federal laws, you could be sentenced to up to 20 to 25 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.
Why You Need an Experienced Fraud Attorney
If you are being charged with bank fraud or counterfeiting charges, you could be fighting charges in both state and federal court. In addition, you could be facing multiple charges if there was more than one incident of bank fraud or counterfeiting—common in many of these criminal cases. With the hefty fines and long prison term you could be sentenced to, you cannot afford not to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney.
At Greenspun Shapiro PC, our Fairfax fraud defense lawyers have a reputation for experience, imagination, and success in defending our clients in both federal and state criminal proceedings. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, call our Fairfax office today at 703-352-0100 to schedule your free consultation to discuss your criminal charges and how we can help you achieve the best possible outcome.